Speed up your CI builds with Airdrop

Published on by

Speed up your CI builds with Airdrop image

I'm on a mission to use NodeJS the least amount possible. Why? Because it slows down people's builds on Chipper CI!

Luckily, Airdrop exists.

Laravel Airdrop is a tool that stores your built static assets. When you do CI runs, Airdrop checks to see if your static assets have changed.

If the assets have not changed, Airdrop downloads them from storage and places in the right place - allowing you to skip building your assets.

If they have changed, then you use Node to build your static assets as usual.

This is great for saving time in CI and deployment.

Here's how to use Airdrop.


Installing Airdrop is easy:

composer require hammerstone/airdrop
# Add config/airdrop.php to your project
php artisan airdrop:install

Configuring Airdrop

There's only a few things to configure in Airdrop - and a bunch of them can be left to their defaults.


You can tell Airdrop when to decide to re-build static assets.

Triggers are specific to the environment (APP_ENV) - each environment gets its own set of files. This is called the Configuration trigger.

The other trigger is the FileTrigger. This tracks configured files and rebuilds assets if the files have changed.

The FileTrigger will check:

  1. Files in the resources (CSS, JS, etc)
  2. If the Webpack/Vite configuration file changes

I also add the package-lock.json file that NPM produces.

use Hammerstone\Airdrop\Drivers\FilesystemDriver;
use Hammerstone\Airdrop\Drivers\GithubActionsDriver;
use Hammerstone\Airdrop\Triggers\ConfigTrigger;
use Hammerstone\Airdrop\Triggers\FileTrigger;
return [
'driver' => env('AIRDROP_DRIVER', 'default'),
'drivers' => [
'default' => [...],
'github' => [...],
'triggers' => [
ConfigTrigger::class => [
'env' => env('APP_ENV')
FileTrigger::class => [
'include' => [
resource_path(), // default
base_path('webpack.mix.js'), // mix default
base_path('vite.config.js'), // vite default
base_path('package-lock.json'), // my addition here
'outputs' => [...],


You can decide where Airdrop will store static assets. Usually you just use the FilesystemDriver here, and use Laravel's Storage mechanism to tell Airdrop where to put the files.

The disk setting related to the Laravel “disk” storage used. Using some remote storage, such as s3, is recommended.

The GitHub Actions Driver lets you save files to the GH Actions cache, which is pretty handy!

return [
// The driver you wish to use to stash and restore your files.
'driver' => env('AIRDROP_DRIVER', 'default'),
'drivers' => [
'default' => [
// The class responsible for implementing the stash and restore
// logic. Must extend BaseDriver.
'class' => FilesystemDriver::class,
// The disk on which to store the built files.
'disk' => env('AIRDROP_REMOTE_DISK', 's3'),
// The folder (if any) where you'd like your stashed assets to reside.
'remote_directory' => env('AIRDROP_REMOTE_DIR', 'airdrop'),
// A writeable directory on the machine that builds the assets.
// Used to build up the ZIP file before stashing it.
'local_tmp_directory' => env('AIRDROP_LOCAL_TMP_DIR', storage_path('framework')),
// The skip file is an empty file that will be created to
// indicate that asset building can be skipped.
'skip_file' => env('AIRDROP_SKIP_FILE', base_path('.airdrop_skip')),
// ...


Outputs are the files that Airdrop will store and retrieve for you. The files you “watch” via Triggers don't necessarily need to be the same files you have Airdrop save/store for you!

The defaults for Airdrop are pretty good, but of course you can configure these as needed.

return [
// ...
'outputs' => [
* Files or folders that should be included.
'include' => [
// Mix/Webpack
// Vite
// ...

Note: You likely don't want to commit static assets to your repository when using Airdrop. To avoid that, and to finish configuring Airdrop, add the following to your .gitignore file:

# Mix/Webpack
# Vite

Integrating Airdrop

When you build your app Airdrop in CI, or in a deployment script (this works great for Forge quick deploys!), you can run the following:

# Download files, only if needed
php artisan airdrop:download
# Airdrop creates .airdrop_skip if
# it downloaded files
if [ ! -f ".airdrop_skip" ]; then
npm ci --no-audit
npm run dev
# Upload the files if needed
php artisan airdrop:upload
Chris Fidao photo

Teaching coding and servers at CloudCasts and Servers for Hackers. Co-founder of Chipper CI.


Laravel Newsletter

Join 40k+ other developers and never miss out on new tips, tutorials, and more.


Version 4 of Tinkerwell is available now. Get the most popular PHP scratchpad with all its new features and simplify your development workflow today.

Visit Tinkerwell

The latest

View all →
Use Ollama LLM Models Locally with Laravel image

Use Ollama LLM Models Locally with Laravel

Read article
TallStackUI - a new component library for TALL Stack apps image

TallStackUI - a new component library for TALL Stack apps

Read article
Laravel 10.34 Released image

Laravel 10.34 Released

Read article
Laravel Tailwind Merge image

Laravel Tailwind Merge

Read article
Generate Validation Rules from a Database Schema in Laravel image

Generate Validation Rules from a Database Schema in Laravel

Read article
A Feature Flags Implementation for Filament image

A Feature Flags Implementation for Filament

Read article
Honeybadger logo


Zero-instrumentation, 360 degree coverage of errors, outages and service degradation.

Laravel Forge logo

Laravel Forge

Easily create and manage your servers and deploy your Laravel applications in seconds.

Laravel Forge
Oh Dear logo

Oh Dear

Oh Dear is the best all-in-one monitoring tool for all your Laravel apps.

Oh Dear
Tinkerwell logo


The must-have code runner for Laravel developers. Tinker with AI, autocompletion and instant feedback on local and production environments.

Kirschbaum logo


Providing innovation and stability to ensure your web application succeeds.

Shift logo


Running an old Laravel version? Instant, automated Laravel upgrades and code modernization to keep your applications fresh.

Bacancy logo


Supercharge your project with a seasoned Laravel developer with 4-6 years of experience for just $2500/month. Get 160 hours of dedicated expertise & a risk-free 15-day trial. Schedule a call now!

LoadForge logo


Easy, affordable load testing and stress tests for websites, APIs and databases.

Paragraph logo


Manage your Laravel app as if it was a CMS – edit any text on any page or in any email without touching Blade or language files.

Lucky Media logo

Lucky Media

Bespoke software solutions built for your business. Partner with Lucky Media, your favorite Laravel Development Agency!

Lucky Media
Lunar: Laravel E-Commerce logo

Lunar: Laravel E-Commerce

E-Commerce for Laravel. An open-source package that brings the power of modern headless e-commerce functionality to Laravel.

Lunar: Laravel E-Commerce